I’m the King of Jubilee Jumbles

artist Nayland Blake natters on about art and other things

Archive for January 2009

Walking Lehigh…

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All errands accomplished today. Score one for our side. But damn, this cold is not playing around. The sort of weather that just makes me want to huddle indoors nonstop. Where’s the service bottom with my toddy?

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January 31, 2009 at 10:21 pm

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A restless mind…

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Fix what you can, forget what you can’t and learn to know the difference. Sound familiar?

Among my other restlessnesses lately has been some beard dissatisfaction . So after seeing some pictures on Thor’s blog, I reached for the clippers and set to work.

One new thing – going grey makes it much harder to shape your beard, because you have to decide whether to follow the contour of the grey or just assert a shape. There’s a problem with doing that though, because as any painter knows, contrasting lights and darks tend to make shapes independent of the surface they reside on. Thus I found myself looking at odd shapes in the beard that I didn’t quite know how to tackle. It’s all much easier when you buzz things to a uniform length, but I’m not prepared to go back to that again.

Something else about facial hair shaping: It felt like I was putting my recent illness behind me. Something purgative about it all in all. I had been growing the goatee and mustache portion out for a while, but its flat shovel shape was irking me.

Here’s the result:

I’ve left a little tab on the front for those who like to tug it. And the mustache wings probabaly won’t make it through the weekend, but they’re fine for now.

And now to get back to the art I’m working on.

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January 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

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Sometimes…

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..I encounter stuff and I just can’t help feeling like an idiot.

Stuff like this.

I read about this fabulous loft this artist has and I start thinking, what am I doing wrong? Why am I still scraping from month to month? Why couldn’t I have bought property in 2000? Why don’t I live at that level? Why, why, why isn’t that me?

It’s ludicrous.

And it certainly isn’t about Shirin Neshat, who is an artist who makes work that I respect and who I’m sure is a lovely person. And it isn’t about any realistic assessment of my current life, because that would have to include facts like:

I rent a spacious and welcoming apartment in a neighborhood I enjoy.
I have many people in my life who I care about and who care about me.
I get to make work, and show that work to people with great frequency. I also get paid to do so on occasion.
I have a job where I can both teach and learn. One that shows no signs of going away any time soon.
With a simple request I can get my face licked for hours on end by Lehigh.

And yet and yet and yet I still haven’t been able to banish that stupid covetousness that I mix up with ambition; ambition for the trappings of a certain kind of worldly success. I still feel that twinge and for a moment think that because I’m not there I’m some sort of a stooge.

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January 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm

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Goulash or where are my damned tomatoes?

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In no particular order:

The first truly satisfying episode of Top Chef this season aired last night. Pouty, self-styled intellectual gets sent home, goofball gets the win, Eurotrash gets slapped around, and some of the food made me hungry.

Today’s lunch: Pesto Chicken salad wrap from deli on 43rd, supposed to have tomato, cucumber and avocado. But once I check it back at the office, I find universal green. Where are my tomatoes? Wrap is passable without them, but still. Banana provides some solace, eaten with multivitamin.

Said banana was bought at Grace Building news agent’s (nervous greedy checking tells me that the Mega Jackpot for tomorrow is 40 million, too low for me to play) along with the latest New York Review of Books. Julian Bell writes on Watteau

Thus I am reminded of the death of John Updike; It says something about my LJ friends list that the passing of Eartha Kitt garnered far more notice; I certainly felt a deeper regret when I heard she died. Updike remains for me one of those indigestible lumps of American culture that always seems to be standing in the way of some other, more interesting activity. I think his art criticism to be sensible and well made, but reading his novels was an experience that I found similar to having to watch sports on TV with my dad. There was clear evidence that the activity mattered to many people, but I could never work up the enthusiasm for it.

Here is a fascinating post on the authority of cultural institutions in the current web climate.

And that white stuff that fell from the sky over Brooklyn a couple of days ago? This picture is what it looks like this morning.

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January 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Frightful…

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Today has had just the kind of weather I hate, the kind that results in two foot wide puddles of soupy slush at every New York corner, the kind that makes all forward motion on the street a series of twists and flinches to avoid the chill wind, the kind that makes you feel ungracious about any and all things between yourself and the next sheltering doorway, including all your fellow pedestrians.

I got into work feeling dazed and generally unhealthy. Something is paining me in my shoulder, my nose and throat have been packed with phlegm, I’ve got low level aches and acid reflux. (Note to my body: OK, I get it: next week you begin your 49th year on the planet. Is there something you want to tell me about my warranty?) Alka-Seltzer, my secret lover banished some of my symptoms, so that I could go and be a curmudgeon in class, mushroom-barley soup helped with some of the others. It also helped that I made contact with some of the organizations I’ve owed contact to and straightened out some financial matters.

My interest in poetry podcasts has led me to sampling a bunch of other podcasts on iTunes. They’ve been giving me some ideas for what to do with the WordPress version of this blog, namely to make it more bloglike: more linking, more informational in general. We’ll see how that plays out.

There is a crazy-making aspect to WordPress though: because so few people comment, it’s a little hard to be a comment-whore in the way one can be on LJ; instead, there is the ultratantalizing “blog stats” page which provides you with a running tally of how many people are looking at your blog, and lays those figures out on a day to day graph that looks like your own little popularity roller coaster. It’s really hard not to just hit the refresh button one more time to check out if any more people have come by. Utterly addictive evil.

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January 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm

On the way to Bard…

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With David and a crew of ICP students.

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January 27, 2009 at 10:07 am

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Dang…

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Hauled myself into work on my day off to make it to a meeting that turned out to be scheduled for next week. Of course. Because everything is scheduled for next week.

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January 26, 2009 at 11:10 pm